A massive fire engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday 15 April which started around 7pm local time and has shocked the nation.
The fire burned for several hours and both the iconic spire and roof of the cathedral collapsed.
Firefighters were able to control the fire in the early hours of Tuesday.
President Emmanuel Macron lamented the destruction of an awe-inspiring building that embodied the heart of Paris for more than 800 years. But he pledged to rebuild, starting with the launch of an international fundraising campaign.
“Notre Dame is our history, it’s our literature, it’s our imagery. It’s the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations,” he said.
“This history is ours. And it burns. It burns and I know the sadness so many of our fellow French feel.”
Paris Fire Brigade Commander General Jean-Claude Gallet said “The site was undergoing renovations and was surrounded by scaffolding”.
For much of the afternoon, flames and plumes of smoke billowed from the cathedral as firefighters in cranes sprayed water onto the structure.
One firefighter was seriously injured, Gallet said.
The fire, just days before Easter, was met with horror by Parisians and tourists.
As firefighters battled the blaze, Parisians gathered outside the church Monday night, raising their voices in prayer.
Notre Dame’s foundation stone was laid in 1163 by Pope Alexander III, and the cathedral was completed in the 13th century. Today, with its towers, spire, flying buttresses and stained glass, Notre Dame is considered a feat of architecture as well as a major religious and cultural symbol of France.